Seated Figure embodies many of the styles and media Charles Alston experimented with during his acclaimed career. An illustrator, muralist, painter, sculptor and educator, Alston was an important contributor to the art of the Harlem Renaissance, and his social activism also informed his artistic practice. While perhaps best known for his figurative works, Alston also championed abstraction. Seated Figure showcases Alston’s explorations in form and dimensionality, particularly in relation to Cubism and his ability to optimize tonality within a monochromatic palette. The angular forms of the figure in this drawing recall his portrait paintings, and the vertical, architectonic marks also reference his cityscapes and nonrepresentational abstractions.